Week 2, Patriots at Bills
4th-and-1, 8:15 remaining in 4th quarter, Up by 18
The Patriots went for it on a 4th-and-1 on the Bills’ 41. It doesn’t matter to NYT 4th Down Bot.
If you disagree

To be honest, I've kind of checked out at this point. The Patriots’ chances of winning are pretty high no matter what they do. Given that, playing conservatively and punting isn't a bad idea.

Here's the full breakdown of my calculations:

Option Chance of converting
Chance of winning
Before play
After play Change
Go for it4th and 1, opp. 41 67% 99% 99% -
Punt 99% 99% -
Field goal try58 yard kick (est.) 23% 99% 98% –1%
What coaches usually do
Punt 90% of the time
Go for it 10% of the time
Field goal try -
Based on about 1,001 fourth downs in similar situations since 2001.
What happened

Tom Brady incomplete pass to the middle intended for Julian Edelman.

Where did these numbers come from?

To estimate a team’s chances of winning, I use a mathematical model that accounts for a whole lot of variables — including the difference in score, the time remaining in the game, and the number of timeouts each team has left. On top of that, I have models for the likelihood that a team makes a field goal and the likelihood that it will convert a first down.

By combining all of this information, I can come up with the best decision a team can make, according to math.

If you want even more details about the numbers behind my decisions, my full model is available on GitHub. Help make me better!